Tuesday, January 7, 2014
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, forward Lauri Korpikoski and goaltender Mike Smith will each represent their country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Ekman-Larsson, 22, will be participating in the Olympics for the first time. He represented Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia where he won a silver medal and recorded 1-3-4 with a plus-five rating in seven games. In 2010, Ekman-Larsson won bronze medals at both the IIHF World Junior Championship and the IIHF World Championship. He also represented Team Sweden at the 2009 IIHF U-18 World Championship.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman has collected 4-18-22 and 28 PIM in 40 games with the Coyotes in 2013-14. Last season, he led the Coyotes and ranked 11th among all NHL defensemen with 21 assists. Ekman-Larsson has registered 21-68-89 and 110 PIM in 218 career NHL games. He was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (sixth overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Korpikoski will be participating in the Olympics for the first time. He represented Finland at the IIHF World Championship in 2013 and 2010 as well as in the World Junior Championship in 2006 and 2005. The 27-year-old forward helped Finland capture a bronze medal in 2006 when he recorded 1-5-6 in seven games.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound native of Turku, Finland has posted 5-5-10 and 12 PIM in 25 games this season. In 2012-13, he totaled 6-5-11 in 36 games and scored his 50th career goal on Jan. 28, 2013. Korpikoski, now in his fifth season in Phoenix, has played in 361career NHL games with the New York Rangers and Coyotes, recording 58-65-123 and 88 PIM.
Smith will also be appearing in the Olympics for the first time. In four starts for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland, he registered a 1.65 goals against average (GAA) and a .944 save percentage (SV%).
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound goaltender has posted a 15-10-8 record with a 2.89 GAA and a .911 SV% in 35 games this season. He ranks fourth in the NHL in games played, first in saves (1,002) and shots faced (1,100). The 31-year-old Smith signed a six-year contract extension with the Coyotes on June 30, 2013. He went 15-12-10 with a 2.58 GAA and a .910 SV% in 34 games with the Coyotes in 2012-13. His five shutouts were tied for first in the NHL.
In 298 career NHL games with the Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, the Kingston, ON native is 135-106-42 with a 2.61 GAA, .913 SV% and 24 shutouts. He is 10-8-3 with a 1.88 GAA, .945 SV% and three shutouts in 19 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Smith was originally drafted by Dallas in the fifth-round (161st overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.